Cold Tea

Artist: DJ SeriousTitle: Cold TeaRating: 3 StarsReviewed by: Paine

On Kanye West’s most recent tour, listeners are treated to a DJ set from Montreal’s DJ Serious. Although you might not recognize him immediately, Serious has been putting in work quietly on Canibus’ Mic Club and Masta Ace’s Long Hot Summer albums. His first LP received praises north of the boarder. The follow-up, Cold Tea promises to get an even bigger look in the United States. A fully self-produced album with breaking talent can go either way, which path will Serious take?

The lyrical side of things is questionable. DJ Serious enlists a wide variety of guests. “48” features notable Montreal group, Obscure Disorder. Although certain bars appeal, not all 48 stick since the record is braggadocious while unenergetic, an unfavorable mix. Of the new names that Serious brings along, D-Sisive is most impressive. On “The Return,” D-Sisive is able to use comical punchlines while putting emotion into the track that matches the hook. The reflection is even better on “Same Old Song,” which questions the originality in Hip-hop. Masta Ace appears on “Again” which plays like a leftover from Long Hot Summer as the Juice Crew MC looks at the past and his humble beginnings with perfect timing.

The production is Cold Tea’s selling point. DJ Serious’ minimalist productions use strong timing, harder production, and great samples. The work is comparable to Necro or more recent stuff from Large Professor. “Same Song,” and “The Return” both reflect a strong ability to use vocal samples without going into another producer’s niche. “Postal” has a lot of energy, which Notes To Self, helps bring to the table on the lyrics side. In the vinyl form, there is a free bonus instrumental LP. That might be more interesting than most of the lyrical songs.

Cold Tea is a well-crafted record from a very musical mind. Lyrically, the heavy guest list brings too many clashing styles to the table. Some of the guests don’t impress which creates kinks in the album. Serious is very talented when given strong talent, as seen with Masta Ace and Notes To Self, to bring the heat.